Co-parenting with your ex-spouse is not without its challenges. The biggest challenge is communication. However, even if your ex-spouse is someone you may have, up to this point, been unable to speak to, you still need to be able to communicate with this person for your kid’s sake.
It will be hard at times, but you both need to find a way to make it work.
The first thing you need to understand is that you are stuck with one another. As parents, one day you will both be grandparents to your children’s children. Let’s face it, you are in this for life.
Your kids deserve the best of you that you can give them, regardless of how you feel about the other parent. So make the effort to get along.
Here are some tips on how to get along with your ex and help your kids get through the divorce feeling loved and secure by both parents.
Understand that your kids may feel confused, guilty, and/or abandoned in response to the divorce. Make sure you acknowledge their feelings as normal and remind them that even though your family is going through a major change, you and your ex-spouse will always be their parents.
Don’t discuss divorce disputes with your children or allow them to overhear you discussing these issues with others. Don’t talk about the other parent or his/her relatives, in front of the children. Your body language and facial expressions display the negative feelings you may have about your ex spouse and are easy for your child to read. Best not to bring up the topic of the other parent in front of the kids unless it is to say something nice about them.
Divorce is not an event, it is a process. Allow yourself, your ex-spouse, and your children at least two years for readjustment. Take it slow and keep any new boyfriends, girlfriends and/or potential stepparents out of the divorce. During those first two years, don’t allow someone new in your life to interfere with your child’s relationship with the other parent and don’t encourage the child to call potential stepparents Mom or Dad.
Remember that divorce itself will not destroy your children. It is your reaction to the divorce that has the power to destroy their coping mechanisms.